The total number of bisexual female characters on TV since 1983, over the course of 33 years, represents 0.5% of heterosexual characters in one year. With a desire to paint a clearer picture of exactly how female bisexuality is treated on television, we have embarked on a project to create a database that will provide insight into both the quality and quantity of female bisexual representation, as well as identifying the common tropes that go along with it.
List of all lesbian and bisexual female characters featured on scripted broadcast TV in the 2015-2016 season. Of the 1936 main/recurring characters, only 34 of were lesbian/bisexual women – our rate of representation is 1.75%, and 13 (38%) of those are dead at the end of the season.
While not the deadliest network, the lesbian/bi characters killed on The CW this season had arguably the most impact on the fan community. The CW featured 11 lesbian/bisexual female characters, 8 of which had main/recurring roles, out of 298 main/recurring total characters. 5 of them are dead at the end of the season.
On the 18 scripted TV shows that aired on FOX, lesbian/bisexual women account for 3.3% of main/recurring characters (274 total characters, a number much lower than on other networks), and, according to Vox, 10.7% of all deaths. They are still killed at a rate 3 times higher than their appearance rate.
Only 5 of the 27 scripted TV shows that aired during the 2015-2016 season on CBS featured lesbian/bisexual female characters. A total of only 8 characters, and 5 are now dead (that’s 62.5% dead). Except for Person of Interest, where the lesbian character dies and becomes the voice of an AI, none of them had significant storylines.
Out of 23 scripted TV shows that aired in the 2015-2016 season on NBC, there were only 7 lesbian or bisexual female characters. Compared to last season, with 9 characters, it’s a 22% decrease and 36% decrease since 2013-2014 season. Two of them are dead and only one remains alive and is expected to return.